INSOMNIA — Dr. Victor Frankl on “logo” therapy



There are many causes of this unfortunate illness. Fear of death can be the cause. In some cases, it can be the fear of going to sleep, (oblivion), that prevents conscious and subconscious relaxation necessary for sleep.

The mind of man is so complex that something frightening said to a child of three by an unthinking adult can penetrate the subconscious of that child, be totally forgotten (repressed) and emerge many years later as a cause for insomnia.

Physicians, especially surgeons, are now more alert to what they say in the presence of a comatose or anesthetized patient. The subconscious seems to have ears even when the person is apparently insensible and/or unconscious. Insomnia is a habit that can cause mental fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of weight, a lessening of the powers of concentration and many other serious problems.


About 25 percent of Americans experience acute insomnia each year, but about 75 percent of these individuals recover without developing persistent poor sleep or chronic insomnia, with seniors experiencing the highest percentage of insomnia according to a study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. 

While that may sound daunting to seniors it’s also reassuring to know that you are not alone in your struggle to overcome insomnia.


Many insomnia cases are a result of eating too late at night, causing discomfort, indigestion, irritability in your nervous system and chronic breathing problems which are the physical and can keep you awake.

Some of the biggest problems change in a job, school and money worries are giant factors for insomnia. The loss of a relationship or loved one is emotionally devastating and a huge factor for insomnia.

Poor sleep habits also is a big factor in modern society. Innovations in technology have created a myriad of stressors for developing insomnia. Example. blue light, emitted from digital devices with screens (cell phones, computers, televisions) have proven to be an enemy of sleep.


Symptoms we experience during the day:

  • High levels of anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Tiredness
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling exhausted after waking
  • Easily stressed and anxious

Symptoms we experience during the night:

  • constant tossing and turning
  • Busy mind
  • unable to fall asleep
  • unable to stay asleep
  • Restless syndrome

The average insomniac shows to the world deep shadows around the eyes, a lack-luster look and neurotic tendencies that compound with the passing of time if no help is obtained. Many insomniacs will blame a “busy mind” or “this hectic existence.” Such people will actually “plan” on staying awake.

Insomnia is LEARNED. It is with the most exacting logic, reasoning and reality testing that a person decides to stay awake – it is only through planning and practice that one becomes an insomniac.

Through instruction in self-hypnosis, the insomniac in a short time (usually within six weeks) will learn to sleep like a bear in a cave.

NO DRUGS are necessary.Insomina

As no drugs are required, no addiction or side effects are experienced.

Without question, hypnosis is the safest and most effective therapy for insomnia known to man It is felt by some therapists, usually of the analytical school, that some therapy and/or analysis should be administered to uncover via free association hidden or repressed childhood traumas that may (or may not) be the case in insomnia; but we have yet to see proof that this approach is necessary except in extreme cases.

The majority of insomniacs simply need to overcome a distressful habit. Dr. Victor Frankl, Viennese psychiatrist and neurologist who suffered years of Nazi concentration camp tortures, when freed wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and other books. He introduced “logo” therapy.

In this therapy, Dr. Frankl urged his patients to try to do the very act that they were finding uncomfortable or distasteful. In the case of insomnia, he suggested chatting his patients “try to stay awake.” This approach he called “paradoxical intention.”

His books have been a great contribution to psychology and he was one of the first to urge a departure from medicine’s usual method of administering sedatives.

Hypnosis, however, seems to be a more “normal” method, since it simply encourages relaxation, and as the insomniac is occupied with hypnotic techniques he will fall asleep. As in most behavioral changes, it is replacing a bad habit with a good one, or substituting something positive and healthy for a pattern that hitherto had been negative and unhealthy.

What exactly caused insomnia in the first place and what psychological disturbance maintained the habit pattern is unimportant at this point. The fact is that hypnosis can provide a method so that an insomniac can successfully get a normal night’s rest and eventually overcome a debilitating habit.

Why hypnosis is not used more generously by the psychiatric branch of medicine for many problems, including insomnia, is difficult to understand.


You as a sympathetic listener will first probe your client for any history of childhood trauma that may have caused the problem.


“Why do you think you are unable to fall asleep easily at night?”

And the usual answer is, “My mind is active. Things keep going around in my mind. I am aware that this is keeping me awake, but I can’t seem to control my thoughts; I seem to have so much on my mind I just can’t get to sleep.”

Another answer maybe, “I’m in a tough business. I have so many problems at the office (shop, store, home, college, etc.) that I can’t seem to turn them off when I want to sleep.”

The main purpose of the hypnotist’s question is to get the clients talking about their problem. As the clients’ talks note the number of times they will say “I can’t.”

Note the conditioned habit pattern demonstrated by the “I can’t.” True, this game can be played with anyone no matter the problem, but the insomniac will always be the prize “I can’t.” And this is why, when your clients try to sleep, they will continue to toss and turn – hating the world, society, his job – but more especially, himself.

The process of initial relaxation, as taught in beginning self-hypnosis, will come as a welcome relief to most insomniacs, who, by the way, usually make excellent hypnotic subjects for the simple reason that they are tired from loss of sleep and are usually becoming neurotic about the problem.

They will generally welcome the soothing commands of a professional hypnotist. The word “sleep” should be used repeatedly during induction. The same techniques are used in the treatment of insomnia, of course, as in any other form of relaxation training. With the insomniac, however, always stress self-hypnosis.

In your discussion, persuade the client that he/she is doing this, and you are only a guide. This must be repeated many times to transfer any reliance upon you to the client.

Show the greatest of admiration for any progress, and praise him for his excellence as a subject.

The praise and empathic relationship are beneficial from a reward-reinforcement base upon which to dissuade the negative pattern from continuing. As in the case of all habit change, it is the replacement with a positive and emotionally satisfying habit that will correct the unhappy state of insomnia.

Suggestibility by the hypnotist becomes fact to the insomniac as he recovers from his affliction. Much of this comes from the subject themself as they come to “believe.”

The hypnotist suggests, soothes, and softly persuades relaxation and concentration. Usually, the rapid technique, i.e., counting to three, will administer the corrective way to sleep.

We advise practice two to three times a day in the relaxing techniques and find that eight sessions with the hypnotist will have the insomniac sleeping soundly.  In the beginning, most insomniacs will not believe that hypnosis will actually correct their affliction and most will frankly admit that coming to a professional hypnotist is a last resort. Most will have tried drugs, counting sheep; reading poetry, and drinking all kinds of milk elixirs in desperate efforts to get a night’s sleep.

Therefore, while you will be most reassuring, nevertheless stress that it is SELF-hypnosis that is going to do the trick and not some outside agency or magic.

Place the responsibility right where it belongs.

This usually has a sobering effect upon the client, and they will begin to see just how much, by habit, is responsible for insomnia. As your sessions progress, you will see the practice paying off – the eyes will be more alert and there will be a quickening of the step and a more confident attitude.

Always be quick to praise your client and urge them to recognize the progress that has been made in a short time. Also, stress the “here and now” experience and counsel your client not to dwell on past errors, mistakes, sins or fears – rather the promising vigor of the present moment and the existentialistic exercise must be emphasized.

Dismiss any reference to the past as futile, and bolster any sagging will with “here and now” psychology. Your optimism is the insomniac’s tonic for confidence, faith, and thereby, relaxation. Confidence and relaxation are inseparable and are dually self-supportive. Encouragement invites belief – disbelief is what has maintained the unhappy state of affairs. Be very careful of the words you use to an insomniac during induction.

For sales motivation and improved work habits, hypnotists use the words “dynamic, aggressive,” and so on, but they should never be used in the case of insomnia. You must tailor your words to the client’s need and beware of stereotyping your induction for all who come to you.

The conscientious hypnotist always seeks to accommodate the client’s needs, and especially during induction. Words are symbols with meanings, remember, and they invoke a reaction (good or bad, right or wrong, positive or negative) from your client.

It has been found that it is wise to emphasize deep breathing during induction for an insomniac.

Studies have shown that many people actually hold their breath when “trying hard” to get to sleep. It was indicated in one recent study that several insomniacs were so concerned with getting to sleep that they “forgot” to breathe.

Therefore, have your client not only breathe deeply at the initial phase of induction but continually remind him that he is to breathe deeply and rhythmically. As we know, a more attentive concentration on breathing also acts as a hypnotic technique for sleep or somnambulism, so it has a double benefit.

Don L Price, EzineArticles Platinum Author

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Tags: busy mindInsomnianeurologistself-hypnosistherapy

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